Saturday, September 27, 2008

2041 Logical Waste

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Well, I managed to completely waste another day. I got curious about the LSAT. After describing it as an aptitude/IQ test, I realized that I had no idea what it was like, so I went digging.

I want to take the real test! It's chock full of exactly the kind of logic, critical reasoning, and comprehension questions I love! (The links go to some examples and samples.) Man, I could really ace this thing (bouncing up and down in chair)! I could blow it out of the water! I had a lot of fun today working the examples and reading the supplied explanations, and I don't know if the examples they give are purposely easy or what, but I got the right answer on all I tried, every time, and I was fast, and really really really enjoyed the hell out of it. I want more.

Of course, with a prediction like that, that I'd ace it, we don't know which end of the scale I'm operating from, but I printed off two versions of the LSAT (one is a "sample", and the other is the actual test given in June 2007), and as soon as I can find a few consecutive hours without distraction, I plan to find out. (Hmm. I haven't looked at them yet, that would be cheating, so I'm not sure the answers are included. It wouldn't be cheating to look at the last page or two, would it? Oops, yes, especially if that's where the answers are, you idiot. Ok, which end of the scale are we coming from again?)

2040 The Overconfidence of the Underachiever

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Again, no links or footnotes. I forget where I read about this study, it's been bumping around in my head for a while, but I'm sure anyone interested could find it. I may have some details wrong, but this is pretty much the basics.

Researchers gave a bunch of random people an LSAT practice test (which is basically a combination aptitude/IQ test). After the test, they asked the testees to estimate how well they thought they did.

Almost everyone overestimated their performance.

The people who scored best on the test estimated closest to their actual scores, and were most likely to have underestimated.

Average scorers, those in the middle, overestimated a bit more than the high scorers, but generally they overestimated by pretty much the same amount. In other words, they were average overestimators, too. The closer they were to an average score, the closer their overestimation was to the average overestimation.

The people who scored the lowest overestimated the most. After having taken the test, most of them were convinced they'd done a good job on it. Even after having been shown the answers of the high scorers, and been told that this is how the high scorers answered, they STILL were confident that they'd done well, too.


The researchers' theory is that the less capable we are in a job, the more confident we are that we do it well. The less capable we are of making a decision, the more confident we are of that decision.

Not so odd. We've seen a lot of that in the White House.

2039 The Debate, Part 2

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I've been wandering around links to find an analysis of the debate that comes closest to my impressions, and I think this might be it.

I kind of agree with his comment at the end, about how McCain sure can drive a car.

Eight years ago I was all for McCain. I sound liberal sometimes, and I sound Democrat a lot, but I'm a switch-hitter. I'm registered Independent. My actual vote goes to whomever I think can do the kind of job I want done, and back then it was McCain. If he had been the candidate, I'd have voted for him. But now, not. He's too stuck in the old world. There have been too many changes since then. The world requires an ability to analyze and adapt that I don't think he has.

He has too much emotional investment in the old world order.

2038 The Conspiracy!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm not going to footnote (i.e. link) anything because you can find anything you like on the internet, so have at it.

Ok. Here's what I've heard and/or read lately, no assurances that any of it is true, but when do you ever get assurances with conspiracy theories?

My Very Own Conspiracy Theory:

Point 1: The US economy is a mess. The debt is enormous. Tax relief, let alone anything like health care assistance will be impossible. Foreign affairs are a mess. The world hates us. We're in one war we can't win and another we don't dare lose, and we can no longer afford either.

Point 2: I hear that Sarah Palin's handlers are having fits. They've had some practice debates, and some mock news conferences, and they've been total disasters. They'd like to cancel the upcoming Palin/Biden debate, or postpone, but that doesn't seem possible. People are freaking. There are those in the GOP rarified levels that would like her to voluntarily withdraw (but I'll bet she keeps insisting she's ready), but it probably wouldn't help anyway (that "experience and judgment" thing McCain thinks he has going for him would be shot full of holes).

Point 3: I hear that Palin was recommended to John McCain by none other than Henry Kissinger.

Point 4: Of all the people in the world who suffers least from cognitive dissonance, I'd put Kissinger pretty far up there. I see him as coldly logical.

Point 5: I think Kissinger knew exactly what he was doing, and I think others were involved.

Conclusion: The GOP wants to lose this election. They will be happy to hand the whole mess over to the Democrats, who will be forced to do some unpleasant and very unpopular things to clean it up. The American public has a very short memory. In a few years, they'll forget who created the mess, and all the anger and frustration of the cleanup will be dumped on the Democrats (who not incidentally don't know how to use the media to the same effect as the right), and in 2012, the Republicans will be able to waltz right in, and look like saviors. And in running McCain and Palin, well, it's not like they sacrificed any of their valuable players.

How's that for a conspiracy theory?

(Oh, and don't forget what the Mayan calendar and Nostradamus and some interpretations of the Bible have to say about 2012.)

Friday, September 26, 2008

2037 Debate

Friday, September 26, 2008

I watched the McCain-Obama debate. Both candidates pretty much made their supporters happy, but of course that doesn't matter. It's the undecideds who count. (Is there really anyone at this point who is truly undecided?)

McCain was dressed to better appeal to Joe Blow, in a medium blue suit, a medium light blue shirt, and a red striped tie. A rather soft look. Obama was dressed to appeal to middle management in a well-tailored very dark blue suit, a pale blue shirt that looked almost white, and a solid red tie. Obama's sharpness may have been a mistake.

You'll find better analyses of what went on elsewhere. This is my personal impression.

My general impression was that McCain's main thrust was threefold: to divorce himself from Bush, to emphasize his foreign policy experience, and to denigrate Obama. By denigrate, I mean he dropped famous names like a third-grade starlet, knowing that Obama couldn't do the same, and he got absolutely disrespectful at times, using words like "naive" and "doesn't understand" in referring to Obama. His contempt was palpable.

Dropping all those world-leader names may have been a mistake. Talking about Eisenhower emphasized his age. Some of the names he mispronounced (Ahmadinejad being the most conspicuous, he stumbled over it several times, think "I'm a dinner jacket", what's so hard about that), and at least once it sounded like he may have confused two leaders. Whatever. To hear him tell it, he has spent the past several years trotting around the world meeting important people. (That might explain how he managed to miss 407 Senate votes (6 key votes) in the past 3.7 years.) He did get across, however, that he has a sense of world history and the relationship of various countries.

I'm not sure what Obama's thrust was, other than to tie McCain more tightly to Bush and to how we got to where we are now. He needed a theme to keep coming back to, something to keep hitting hard. Without a theme, it sometimes seemed like he was just responding to McCain. He made a couple of good points, one being that we are in Iraq at the expense of Afghanistan, and THAT's where the greatest danger from terrorism is. McCain seemed to miss that somehow. He didn't get it. He seemed to be hung up on "winning" in Iraq, perhaps so all those soldiers who had already died would not have died in vain (insert story of bereaved mother here).

The candidates were supposed to talk to each other during the "rebuttal" part of the questions. I got annoyed with McCain because even when he was supposed to be talking to Obama, he didn't look directly at him.

(One part that wasn't there, and will never be part of a formal debate, but I'd have LOVED to see, is them asking each other about the dirty and misleading ads. I'd LOVE to hear McCain tell his supporters right out that Obama is not Muslim.)

The part that stood out for me was about the president talking directly with foreign leaders without preconditions. A refusal to speak to foreign leaders with whom we have arguments without their conceding to preconditions is a tenet of the Bush administration. Lower officials, like Secretaries or ambassadors, yes. President, no.

This has always struck me as exceedingly stupid. Like, does Bush think we're punishing them by refusing to speak to them? It smacks of high school politics. "I'm not talking to her until she apologises for what she did!" "But she says she didn't do it, and she won't apologize for something she didn't do." "Well I don't care. I won't talk to her until she apologizes!"

Obama said he'd talk to anyone. McCain didn't like that. Obama pointed out that McCain's own advisor, Henry Kissinger, said that the President should talk directly with other leaders without preconditions. McCain bristled and said that Kissinger had never said that! Well, within minutes, Katie Couric had Kissinger on the phone, and Kissinger said yes, a president should talk with other world leaders without preconditions.


There's a popular buzzword (buzzphrase?) in psychology these days - "cognitive dissonance". That's when one continues to believe something in the face of all evidence to the contrary.

fMRIs have shown that formation of beliefs and opinions originates in the emotional part of the brain, and then moves to the logical part, so that they come into our logical mind for examination already festooned with emotions and preconceptions, of which we are unaware. The more emotionally invested we are in the conclusion, the less likely we are to listen to any facts or arguments to the contrary.

Politics is highly emotional.

If you listen to two people who are especially emotionally invested argue about "their" candidates, you'll notice that they really don't listen to or hear or consider anything that doesn't suit their belief, and may even react violently to even deserved criticism of their candidate. Poor Elizabeth on "The View" is almost pitiful that way.

So that's why I don't think this debate will change any minds that aren't already made up.

I mean, look at all the people defending Palin. How can anyone thinking logically want her as the VP?

We also need to be aware of the areas where our candidates might have some cognitive dissonance of their own going on.

Heh heh --- next post. Kissinger and Palin. The conspiracy connection!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

2036 OMG! Incoherent Babbling!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I somehow missed the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin. So I went looking for clips on YouTube.

Even if what I found is carefully selected pieces that make her look like an idiot, it boggles my mind that there were that many bits that make her look like an idiot. And it's odd that there are only a few very short clips in which she is coherent.

The woman is in WAY over her head. It becomes obvious why she's been kept from interviews. This one was a mistake. Biden will eat her for lunch - um - unless that debate is canceled, too.

2035 A Little Better

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I slept all day yesterday. Got up twice to drink water, and I ate a few small wheat crackers. Today I still ache all over. Some of it may be the muscle ache of virus, but I think a lot of it is from the violence of the shivering. Every muscle in my body got a total workout.

I ate a bowl of oatmeal today. Drinking lots of water. What I really want is macaroni and cheese.

I usually shrug and think, oh well, purging from both ends isn't so very bad - at least I'll lose some weight. Ha! Got on the scale this afternoon, and I haven't lost an ounce. I guess that means I'm drinking enough water.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2034 Sick

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The previous post was set up Tuesday night, and scheduled to be published today. Otherwise it wouldn't have happened. Not like I had any kind of premonition....

I was sick during the night. I was fine when I went to bed a little after midnight, was reading a book, and then I got cold. Shivering violently. Shaking so badly I couldn't put my glasses on. Boosted the heat, put three layers of clothes on, put a heating pad in the bed. I had to clench my jaws because I was afraid the clattering would break teeth. By 4 am I was sitting on the floor next to the john with a bucket in my lap.

It's times like that that I realize how alone I am.

Today I have a 101 fever, and my whole body feels like I've been beaten badly, kicked all over (I do know exactly what that feels like). The cramps and nausea are gone, though. My hands, feet, and buttocks are desperate for massage, and my jaw aches from the clenching. I am miserable, but it's all up from here, I think.

It's probably norovirus. Don't know where I might have picked it up. I won't wish it on you.

I slept most of today, and now I'm going back to bed.

2033 Repeating an old post - Abortion

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is a post from my original AOL journal, at It contains entries from June 22, 2004 to November 16, 2005.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

In general, things I say are often taken in a way I don't at all mean them to be taken. I think maybe because listeners interpret what I say in the context of what they are thinking at the moment. They think I am headed the same direction they're heading -but I'm often looking at things from a slightly different angle. I don't say what they expect, but they hear (or read) what they expect. So that's why one of the things I like about Mensa is that my comments are not (well, not quite as often) misunderstood. Therefore I was surprised when I said something at lunch recently that was not immediately understood.

The conversation had veered into general politics, in particular into the influence of the religious right on conservative thinking, and the role of religion in decision-making, and eventually into Roe v Wade. My comment was, "The thinking is obvious. It's not ok to kill an unborn baby. You have to wait until they're old enough to put on a uniform, then you can kill as many as you want to." I was surprised when it took a minute. No, I was not saying that it's ok to kill young men in uniform. Sheesh!

By the way, to reiterate my personal opinion, abortion is a BAD THING. I hate that there are people who treat it casually. I hate that it exists as an option. On the other hand, women MUST have the right to control their own lives, to determine the uses to which their bodies are put. (The old saw about keeping women barefoot and pregnant wasn't a joke. Pregnancy was not so very long ago one of many powers that men exercised over women.) Therefore, we must keep abortion legal until we have eliminated all the reasons that some women feel an abortion is necessary. It's unfair to do otherwise!

So don't work against abortion - not yet, anyway - work for inexpensive and convenient daycare at hours that suit the job, equal pay, safe birth control, cheap prenatal care, paid maternity leave, guaranteed jobs and continued seniority over the leave, gentle deliveries, paid paternal leave, etc. Work to find out why women turn to abortion, how did they get into such a desperate position, and work to eliminate those conditions.

The antiabortion folks terrorize women with stories about bad dreams for years afterward - but women who give babies up for adoption have bad dreams, too. Don't forget that for every picture of a dead fetus, there is a picture of an abused, broken, unloved toddler. Equally as bad as abortion is having and keeping a baby you don't want, can't afford, and aren't mature or committed enough to raise. Instead of outlawing abortion, we need to eliminate male (sorry guys, but it's still true) physical, emotional, and financial control over women's destinies, and make it easier for a woman to be a mother, and only by conscious choice.

Having been a single mother, I know whereof I speak. Daycare was my biggest problem. The "large computer manufacturer" didn't feel at all guilty about assigning huge amounts of overtime and requiring third shift lab time on short notice, and yet refusing to provide 24-hour company-sponsored daycare. They made it very difficult to be both a good parent and a good employee. Extremely high-stress. And if I'd had a minimum wage at-will job, it would have been impossible. In that situation, you can't even complain. When you live paycheck to paycheck, a parent can't just quit and look for a more accomodating job. There's no cushion, and no leeway.

I am annoyed that so many people think children are of utmost importance, until they are asked to help take care of them. Then, it's your problem, not theirs. I don't think anyone should speak out against abortion until they have adopted several unloved babies, and have taken desperate pregnant women into their homes, and have given material help to establish decent daycare. Otherwise, they are just looking down their noses, and sneering "Well, if you lived like I do, you wouldn't have gotten into that position in the first place." First, make it possible for them to live like you do. Then you can complain when they don't.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

2032 Thud

Plaintiff on TV: "... I borrowed it to him."
Judge Judy, correcting her: "... I loaned it to him."
Me, yelling at TV: "... I lent it to him!"

"Loan" is a noun.
The verb is "lend", past tense "lent".

2031 Shame

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

There are about 18 houses in our little neighborhood. Several of them are summer or weekend homes. There's very little visiting back and forth, mostly just next-door neighbors interaction.

One of the houses is occupied by a couple whom everyone avoids. He is big, vicious, violent, nasty, vindictive, and more than a bit crazy. She is older than he, from central Europe, and does not have the use of her left hand. He beats her. She doesn't drive, and he refuses to take her shopping. He leaves her alone all day with no transportation, but expects the larder to be full, and dinner on the table when he comes home.

So she rides her bicycle the two miles into the village to shop. There's a limit to how much food and household supplies she can carry home on the bike, so she has to go several times a week, no matter the weather.

I first met her one winter day two or three years ago when she appeared on my doorstep asking if she could have some of my firewood. A neighbor had called the police to one of those beatings, and she had a three-month order of protection against him, so he wasn't allowed to go to the house, and the furnace was broken, and she had no money to fix it, could I please give her some of my wood. I did.

Over the next few weeks and cups of tea, I offered her rides to town and to medical treatment, and talked with her about her life and her options. It turned out she had several friends in the area, and she had in the past gone to stay with them when things got really bad, but she always came back because she couldn't see any other choice, she has no money of her own and can't afford a lawyer, and now all those friends refuse to take her in any more because her husband always found her, and he's crazy and scares them, and she always went back to him anyway.

I started researching. Research is one thing I do well. I found her free legal assistance. I found her all kinds of aid and social services, including the battered women's shelters. And --- she refused to consider any of it. I soon discovered that all she really wanted was money, donations of food, rides, and someone to complain to. She didn't seem to really want to change anything.

Along about that time, another neighbor who lives across the street from them and had seen the guy in action, strongly advised me to get out of the situation. Do not attempt to help her. He also pointed out that she will gradually drain me of anything I can give her, but she won't make any changes. And, more importantly, if the husband gets the idea that I'm interfering, I could come out some morning to find both my vehicles keyed and all eight tires punctured, and I wouldn't be able to prove he did it.

I'd about reached that conclusion myself.

The next time she called, I told her that in finding the legal and social services, I'd done as much for her as I could, and that I can't do any more. If she needed a ride to any of those offices, she could call, but otherwise I have to stay out of her life. I didn't respond to her next few phone messages, and eventually they stopped.

I occasionally see her on the highway on her bicycle. I don't think she sees me. She always has her head down.

Today I went to the grocery store, and passed her, her gray head bent over the bars, her thin legs pedaling hard. I knew she would be heading for the grocery store, too. When I got to the store, I tore around filling the basket so that I'd be gone before she arrived. Then when I left, I turned south to the pharmacy, rather than pass her again.

And I feel so very guilty.

2030 Disturbing Section in the Mortgage Bailout Proposal

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You can read the entire proposed legislation here. It's short and pretty clear.

Catch this part:

Sec. 8. Review.

Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.

Isn't that going a bit too far? What about that "three branch balance" thingy we learned about in government classes? Will Congress actually pass this?


Monday, September 22, 2008

2029 Bonk!

Monday, September 22, 2008

I may have a black eye tomorrow.

I have a wooden kitchen stool that has a post sticking up to move it around easily. The post reaches to exactly the height of my hand as it hangs by my side. There's a big wooden ball on the end to grab it by. I know this stool well. I designed it, Jay made it, I decorated and varnished it (there are snakes spiraling up the post), and I've been using it more than ten years.

A few minutes ago I dropped a tissue, and bent down quickly to catch it, and came down hard on the ball. It got me on and below my left eyebrow. I've already got a headache.

Bag of frozen peas, right? Um, will a block of frozen squash do?

2028 More Short Stuff

Monday, September 22, 2008

Talked w. Piper today. Learned more about "selling short". The description I gave is indeed a kindergarten version of the theory behind it, but the way it actually works is much more complicated. There's no "you", and no real stock "in hand". It's a gambling game in virtual space, but with real money. And if I described how it really worked, you'd laugh me out of the room.

Ok, here goes, attempt #2:

- Stock ABC is selling at $30 a share.
- I go to you and offer to sell you 1000 shares at $30 per.
- I don't actually have any shares of ABC.
- You say ok, and you set up an account for me with $30,000 credit, what they're paying for the stock, in it.
- In exchange for this, I have to deposit a real $15,000 into the account.
- The account now has $45,000 in it. This is my money, and I owe you 1000 shares.
- You are betting the stock goes up.
- I am betting the stock goes down.
- The money sits there in the account.
- I get all the money in the account when I hand you the 1000 shares of ABC.
- If the stock goes down, say to $10 a share, I buy 1000 shares for $10,000, send them to you, and you release the $45,000 to me. I made $20,000 on the deal.
- If the stock goes up, I'm covered by what's in the account until it goes to $45 a share (or something - the amount of coverage is a bit fuzzy to me). If it goes over $45 a share, I have to put more money in the account to cover the increased value of the stock I owe you! At some point, say $50 a share, I panic at all the money I'm putting in that account, so I buy 1000 shares at the current price, $50, and send them to you, and you send me all the money in the account. (Seems like it would make more sense for you to just use the money in the account to buy 1000 shares, and send me any money left over, if any.) I made no money. Remember, I sold you the stock for $30 a share, but I had to buy it at $50 to fill my debt. I'm out $20,000. You made $20,000.

Stop laughing.

2027 Perception of Women

Monday, September 22, 2008

[Reading this over, I see I've combined the problem of an uneducated electorate, and negative views of the capability of women, and kind of tangled them up. Well, yeah. I could edit and rewrite to make it cleaner, but ... fooey. They ARE intertwined. ]

Of all the developed countries, the US ranks something like 75th in the participation of women in government (per a program on PBS). Why is it so difficult in this country for women to be elected to the House, or Senate, let alone the Presidency? Or even to rise to CEO of a corporation? Why do we still have that stupid glass ceiling?

Basically, because so many Americans, both male and female, don't believe that women are capable. They think whatever the job is, a man, any man, can do it better.


Because, and this is entirely my opinion, most of the women most people, male and female, come into contact with day to day are arbitrary, emotional, prone to playing "gotcha games", bitchy, backbiting, shallow, tend to react more than think, are unaware of issues beyond the latest Hollywood scandal and their next manicure, and are treated as sex objects because that's the way they present themselves. No, that's not all women, but it IS the ones the people who vote most heavily are most familiar with. That's the definition of "woman" to most people, including those who should know better.

Americans in general are not taught to think in schools. They learn to parrot, but seldom learn to think and analyze. If you need proof of this, sit down and talk with a group of suburban American teenagers, and then talk with some British or French or German teens of approximately the same social class. The European kids know more about the American government and the election issues that the American kids, and far outstrip them on world issues. Sample some blogs from around the world.

The great mass of Americans don't vote on the issues, but on their "gut feel", whatever that is. And their gut feeling is that women are stupid and cannot be trusted. Any woman who clearly ISN'T like that, obviously isn't really a woman. If she's smart and capable, then she must be hiding a set of balls.


How do we change this perception? We won't get full representation until we do. We have to somehow make our young women stronger, give them concerns that extend beyond preoccupation with the contents of their bras. We have to educate our kids better. Teach them to think. Get them interested in the world.

Until we do, the mass of voters will vote in the way they are told by the few who have an interest in maintaining the status quo. Our government has an interest in keeping the electorate stupid. Stupid people are easier to herd in the direction you want them to go, and they don't know enough to complain when they're being mistreated.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

2026 What Does "Sell Short" mean?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

This is a very simple explanation.
- You have 10 shares of ABC, and it's selling for $100 a share right now.
- ABC looks to me like it might be overvalued, and the stock might be on the verge of a slide.
- I go to you and ask you to "lend" me your 10 shares, and I'll pay you Z dollars "rent" for them.
- I sell those shares, and pocket $1,000 dollars, minus the Z dollars "rent" I pay you.
- The stock drops. Now it's $20 a share.
- I buy 10 shares at $20 each, $200 worth, and I give them to you.
- I just made $800 minus Z dollars profit.

Of course there are a lot more details, but that's the basic theory. I am a short seller, and you are a fool. That's pretty much it, except that it's done on the level of hundreds of thousands of shares at a time, not 10.

I can get hurt doing it if the stock goes up instead of down and you demand your stock back, or the term of our contract ends, while it's high, and I have to buy stock to replace yours at a higher price. Piper has told me horror stories about people who were "caught short".

If the stock doesn't go down, you will get Z dollars profit and you still own the stock. It's like renting out your second home or something.

However, I still have trouble understanding why ANYONE would "rent out" the stock to a short seller. That would be like renting real estate to college students. It ISN'T likely to come back in the same condition.

The market is stacked in favor of short sellers, because if several of them sell huge blocks of stock all at once, that almost guarantees the price will fall. They can make their prediction come true simply by predicting it. There's gotta be something wrong with that. And that's why it's banned right now - to prevent an avalanche.


UPDATE: 9/22/08 I talked with Piper today. The above description is the general theory of what happens, but it's not exactly how it happens. There's no "you", and no real "in the hand" stock. And if I told how it really worked, nobody'd believe me.

2025 Netting it out

Gretchen Morgenson just said something cool re the bailouts, as I walked past the TV (PBS), "This is privatizing gains and nationalizing losses, putting the losses on you and me." Yup.

2024 Down With the FoMo!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's with the popularity of the faux mohawk hairdo among young men? Where did it come from? Why do they want to look like a rooster? Every time I see a guy with that ridge on their head, I expect then to bob their head when they walk. The only people I remember having it a few years ago were flamboyant gays, and I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't gay hairdressers who pushed it on you. It looks stupid, guys! Really stupid. As stupid as that disconnected bump young women have been wearing on the top front of their heads. Every bit as stupid as the '50s jellyrolls and DAs, which, by the way, only the relative outcasts fell for. Ten years from now you'll look at photos and wonder whatever possessed you to walk around with a POINT on the top of your head. Faux dunce cap! Stop it!

Speaking of points, what's with the point on the back of Sarah Palin's head? What's she hiding in there? Is she unaware that teasing is bad for your hair, and never looks natural? She looked like Woody Woodpecker in profile every time I've seen her on TV.

2023 Hey! I have a great idea!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I read that the bailouts have cost American taxpayers between 2 and 5 thousand dollars each. I don't know whether that's taxpayers only or everybody, that may be the difference between the 2 and 5 estimates, but that doesn't matter to my idea.

Somebody really screwed up, and those somebodies who screwed it up took money out hand over fist until the bottom fell out, and now they get to walk away with their profits, leaving us to pay their bills.

Boo, hiss, not fair. But there's not a lot that can be done about that now.

Here's my idea to even things out a little.

At sometime in the past five years, stock in those companies was at a high of, let's say, $100 a share.
At the time of the bailout, the stock was worth, let's say, $1 a share.
I figure that my paying for the bailout should have bought me 2 to 5 thousand shares of that stock! I think I ought to have some interest in that stock!
Ok, we've got a lot of taxpayers, and that's a lot more than the market could support, so let's assign stock to taxpayers based on its high of the past five years - in our example that was $100, so each of us should get credit for 20 to 50 shares of stock. The government should hold it for us.
Then as the bailed-out companies recover and the price of their shares goes back up, we can sell "our" shares at any time, and we get to keep personally any profit over $100 per share. We can even apply it to future tax payments.
Whether the government has to buy and hold actual stock (they'd acquire it at the current (frozen) price and sell it at a future price) or just assign virtual interest to each of us is a detail to be worked out.

Why not?

2022 A Peeve

Sunday, September 21, 2008

One of the things that bug me is people who have a strong opinion on something, but have never examined where that opinion came from, never questioned why they hold that opinion and not another. So if you say "blah blah" to me, and my left eyebrow shoots up, you'd better be able to follow it with "because blah blah." The because doesn't have to make sense - all I ask is that you have one that means something to you.

The Man is very good at that. He always has a because, and sometimes he frankly admits that it's not reasonable, it's entirely emotional, based on his past experience, and that's ok with me.

Just try to have a because that you know is true, ok?